Seal of Bowdoin College
|Motto||Ut Aquila Versus Coelum (Latin)|
Motto in English
|As an eagle towards the sky|
|Established||June 24, 1794|
|Type||Private liberal arts college
|Endowment||$1.216 billion (2014)|
|Postgraduates||Some postdoctoral students and visiting scholars|
|Location||Brunswick, Maine, USA
|Athletics||NCAA Division III – NESCAC|
|Sports||30 varsity teams, 6 club teams|
Bowdoin College (// BOH-din) is a private liberal arts college located in the coastal Maine town of Brunswick. Founded in 1794, the college currently enrolls 1,839 students, and has been coeducational since 1971. Bowdoin offers 33 majors and four additional minors, and has a student–faculty ratio of 9:1.
Bowdoin is located on the shores of Casco Bay and the Androscoggin River, 12 miles (19 km) north of Freeport, Maine, and 28 miles (45 km) north of Portland, Maine. In addition to its Brunswick campus, Bowdoin also owns a 118-acre (478,000 m²) coastal studies center on Orr's Island and a 200-acre (809,000 m²) scientific field station on Kent Island in the Bay of Fundy.
- 1 History
- 2 Academics
- 3 Student life
- 4 Environmental record
- 5 Campus
- 6 Athletics
- 7 Sustainability
- 8 Notable alumni
- 9 In popular culture
- 10 Presidents of Bowdoin
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
Founding and 19th century
Bowdoin College was chartered in 1794 by Governor Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, of which Maine was then a district, and was named for former Massachusetts governor James Bowdoin, whose son James Bowdoin III was an early benefactor. At the time of its founding, it was the easternmost college in the United States. It is thought that the Bowdoin seal, created in 1798 by Joseph Callender, was a sun because it was the first college in the United States to see the sunrise.
Bowdoin came into its own in the 1820s, a decade in which Maine became an independent state as a result of the Missouri Compromise and the college graduated a number of its most famous alumni, including future United States President Franklin Pierce, class of 1824, and writers Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, both of whom graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1825.
From its founding, Bowdoin enjoyed a reputation for academic rigor, and "catered very largely to the elite from the state of Maine." During the first half of the 19th century, Bowdoin became known for its "exacting" admissions requirements, which included, in 1854, a certificate of "good moral character" as well as knowledge of Latin and Ancient Greek, geography, algebra and the major works of Cicero, Xenophon, Virgil and Homer.
Bowdoin's connections to the Civil War have given rise to a quip that the war "began and ended" in Brunswick. Harriet Beecher Stowe, "the little lady who started this big war", started writing her influential anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin in Bowdoin's Appleton Hall while her husband was teaching at the College, and Brigadier General (and Brevet Major General) Joshua Chamberlain, a Bowdoin alumnus and professor, was responsible for receiving the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House in 1865. Chamberlain, a Medal of Honor recipient who later served as governor of Maine, adjutant-general of Maine, and president of Bowdoin, distinguished himself at Gettysburg, where he led the 20th Maine in its valiant defense of Little Round Top.
The college has other Civil War ties as well: Major General Oliver Otis Howard, class of 1850, led the Freedmen's Bureau after the war and later founded Howard University; Massachusetts Governor John A. Andrew, class of 1837, was responsible for the formation of the 54th Massachusetts; and William P. Fessenden 1823 and Hugh McCulloch 1827 both served as Secretary of the Treasury during the Lincoln Administration. After the war, Bowdoin contended that a higher percentage of its alumni fought in the war than that of any other college in the North—and not only for the Union. In fact, Confederate President Jefferson Davis held an honorary degree from Bowdoin, which he received while United States Secretary of War in 1858. President Ulysses S. Grant, too, was given an honorary degree from the college in 1865. All told, seventeen Bowdoin alumni attained the rank of brigadier general during the Civil War, including James Deering Fessenden and Francis Fessenden; Ellis Spear, class of 1858, who served as Chamberlain's second-in-command at Gettysburg; and Charles Hamlin, class of 1857, son of Vice President Hannibal Hamlin.
Although Bowdoin's Medical School of Maine closed its doors in 1921, the College is currently known for its particularly strong programs in the natural sciences. One illustrious alumnus was Dr. Augustus Stinchfield, who received his M.D. in 1868 and went on to become one of the co-founders of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He was asked to join the two Mayo brothers' private medical practice in 1892. In 1915, the remaining partners in the then private practice embraced the creation of the non-profit Mayo Clinic. While perhaps Bowdoin's better-known alumnus in the sciences is the controversial entomologist-turned-sexologist Alfred Kinsey, class of 1916, the College's reputation in this area was cemented in large part by the Arctic explorations of Admiral Robert E. Peary, class of 1877, and Donald B. MacMillan, class of 1898.
Peary led the first successful expedition to the North Pole in 1908, and MacMillan, a member of Peary's crew, became famous in his own right as he explored Greenland, Baffin Island and Labrador in the schooner Bowdoin between 1908 and 1954. Bowdoin's Peary–MacMillan Arctic Museum  honors the two explorers, and the College's mascot, the Polar Bear, was chosen in 1913 to honor MacMillan, who donated a particularly large specimen to his alma mater in 1917.
Following in the footsteps of President Pierce and House Speaker Thomas Brackett Reed, class of 1860, several 20th century Bowdoin graduates have assumed prominent positions in national government while representing the Pine Tree State. Wallace H. White, Jr., class of 1899, served as Senate Minority Leader from 1944–1947 and Senate Majority Leader from 1947–1949; George J. Mitchell, class of 1954, served as Senate Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995 before assuming a prominent role in the Northern Ireland peace process; and William Cohen, class of 1962, spent twenty-five years in the House and Senate before being appointed Secretary of Defense in the Clinton Administration. Maine's First Congressional District has been christened the "Bowdoin seat" because of its long occupation by graduates of the College. A total of eleven Bowdoin graduates have ascended to the Maine governorship, and three graduates of the College currently sit on the state's highest court.
Over the last several decades, Bowdoin College has modernized dramatically. In 1970, it became one of a very limited number of selective schools to make the SAT optional in the admissions process, and in 1971, after nearly 180 years as a small men's college, Bowdoin admitted its first class of women. Bowdoin also phased out fraternities in the late 1990s, replacing them with a system of college-owned social houses.
In 2001, Barry Mills, class of 1972, was appointed as the fifth alumnus president of the College.
On January 18, 2008, Bowdoin announced that it would be eliminating loans for all new and current students receiving financial aid, replacing those loans with grants beginning with the 2008–2009 academic year. President Mills stated, "Some see a calling in such vital but often low paying fields such as teaching or social work. With significant debt at graduation, some students will undoubtedly be forced to make career or education choices not on the basis of their talents, interests, and promise in a particular field, but rather on their capacity to repay student loans. As an institution devoted to the common good, Bowdoin must consider the fairness of such a result."
In February 2009, following a $10 million donation by Subway Sandwiches co-founder and alumnus Peter Buck, class of 1952, the college completed a $250-million capital campaign. Additionally, the college has also recently completed major construction projects on the campus, including a significant renovation of the college's art museum and a new fitness center named after Peter Buck.
The Government & Legal Studies Department, whose prominent professors include Paul Franco and Richard E. Morgan, was ranked the top small college political science program in the world by researchers at the London School of Economics in 2003. Government & Legal Studies was the most popular major for every graduating class between 2000 and 2009. Other departments are also strong, including economics, the natural sciences, English, and Romance Languages. Course distribution requirements were abolished in the 1970s, but were reinstated by a faculty majority vote in 1981, as a result of an initiative by oral communication and film professor Barbara Kaster. She insisted that distribution requirements would ensure students a more well-rounded education in a diversity of fields and therefore present them with more career possibilities. The requirements of at least two courses in each of the categories of Natural Sciences/Mathematics, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Humanities/Fine Arts, and Foreign Studies (including languages) took effect for the Class of 1987 and have been gradually amended since then. Current requirements require one course each in: Natural Sciences, Quantitative Reasoning, Visual and Performing Arts, International Perspectives and Exploring Social Differences. A small writing-intensive course, called a First Year Seminar, is also required.
In 1990, the Bowdoin faculty voted to change the four-level grading system to the traditional A, B, C, D and F system. The previous system, consisting of high honors, honors, pass and fail, was devised primarily to de-emphasize the importance of grades and to reduce competition. In 2002, the faculty decided to change the grading system so that it incorporated plus and minus grades.
Other prominent Bowdoin faculty include (or have included): Edville Gerhardt Abbott, Charles Beitz, John Bisbee, Paul Chadbourne, Thomas Cornell, Kristen R. Ghodsee, Eddie Glaude, Joseph E. Johnson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Elliott Schwartz, and Scott Sehon.
|Liberal arts colleges|
|U.S. News & World Report||5|
In 2006, Newsweek described Bowdoin as a "New Ivy", one of a number of elite colleges and universities outside of the Ivy League and has also been dubbed a "Hidden Ivy". It is currently one of the highest ranked colleges in Maine.
Bowdoin is consistently ranked among the top ten liberal arts colleges in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, and in the 2015 edition of the rankings, Bowdoin ranked fifth, tied with Pomona. In their rankings for best value liberal arts colleges, it ranked 8th. The school has been criticized for artificailly increasing its ranking in this survey by "omit[ting] scores from 15-30 percent of all students, which makes Bowdoin seem significantly more 'selective' than it actually is."
Based on student's SAT scores, Bowdoin is tied with Williams for 5th in Business Insider's smartest liberal arts colleges with an average score of 1435 for math and critical reading combined. Among all colleges, it is tied with Brown, Carnegie Mellon, and Williams for 22nd.
Bowdoin accepted 15% or 1,009 of the 6,790 applicants for the class of 2019. U.S. News and World Report classifies Bowdoin as "most selective". Of enrolling students, 89% are in the top 10% of their high school graduating class.
Although Bowdoin does not require the SAT in admissions, all students must submit a score upon matriculation. The middle 50% SAT range for the verbal and math sections of the SAT is 660–750 and 660–750, respectively — numbers of only those submitting scores during the admissions process. The middle 50% ACT range is 30–33.
The April 17, 2008, edition of The Economist noted Bowdoin in an article on university admissions: "So-called 'almost-Ivies' such as Bowdoin and Middlebury also saw record low admission rates this year (18% each). It is now as hard to get into Bowdoin, says the college's admissions director, as it was to get into Princeton in the 1970s."
Many students apply for financial aid, and around 85% of those who apply receive aid. Bowdoin is a need-blind and a no-loans institution. Students applying to the school are evaluated independently of their financial situations, the college meets 100% of demonstrated financial need, and the college replaces loans with grants for all students on financial aid to lift the burden of significant student debt upon graduation.
While a significant portion of the student body hails from New England — including nearly 25% from Massachusetts and 10% from Maine — recent classes have drawn from an increasingly national and international pool. Although Bowdoin once had a reputation for homogeneity (both ethnically and socioeconomically), a diversity campaign has increased the percentage of students of color in recent classes to more than 31%. In fact, admission of minorities goes back at least as far as John Brown Russwurm 1826, Bowdoin's first African-American college graduate, and the third African-American graduate of any American college.
In 2006, Bowdoin was named a "Top Producer of Fulbright Awards for American Students" by the Institute of International Education. According to PayScale, alumni of Bowdoin College have a mid-career median salary of $106,000, making it the 29th highest among colleges and universities in the United States.
Historically, Bowdoin is known for the strength of its alumni in many different fields and professions. In Maine, the First Congressional District has been christened the "Bowdoin seat" because of its long occupation by graduates of the College. A total of eleven Bowdoin graduates have ascended to the Maine governorship, and three graduates of the College currently sit on the state's highest court.
The college's dining services have been featured on numerous national news organizations, with The New York Times reporting: "If it weren't for the trays, and for the fact that most diners are under 25, you'd think it was a restaurant." Bowdoin has two major dining halls, one of which was renovated in the late 1990s. Every academic year begins with a lobster bake outside Farley Fieldhouse. The college was ranked #6 nationally for the "Dorms like Palaces" category by Princeton Review in 2011.
In 2010, Newsweek ranked Bowdoin the #6 "Most desirable small school in America". In April 2008, College Prowler, a publishing company for guidebooks on top colleges and universities in the United States and written by students, named Bowdoin College its "School of the Year" citing excellence in academics, safety and security, housing and dining.
Recalling his days at Bowdoin in a recent interview, Professor Richard E. Morgan (Class of 1959) described student life at the then-all-male school as "monastic," and noted that "the only things to do were either work or drink." (This is corroborated by the Official Preppy Handbook, which in 1980 ranked Bowdoin the number two drinking school in the country, behind Dartmouth.) These days, Morgan observed, the College offers a far broader array of recreational opportunities: "If we could have looked forward in time to Bowdoin's standard of living today, we would have been astounded." 
Since abolishing Greek fraternities in the late 1990s, Bowdoin has switched to a system in which entering students are assigned a "college house" affiliation correlating with their first-year dormitory. While six houses were originally established, following the construction of two new dorms, two were added effective in the fall of 2007, bringing the total to eight: Ladd (affiliated with Osher Hall), Baxter (West), Quinby (Appleton), MacMillan (Coleman), Howell (Hyde), Helmreich (Maine), Reed (Moore), and Burnett (Winthrop). The college houses are physical buildings around campus which host parties and other events throughout the year. Those students who choose not to live in their affiliated house retain their affiliation and are considered members throughout their Bowdoin career. Before the fraternity system was abolished in the 1990s, all the Bowdoin fraternities were co-educational (except for one unrecognized sorority and two unrecognized all-male fraternities).
Bowdoin's chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, which was founded in 1825, is the nation's sixth oldest. Those who have been inducted to the Maine Alpha chapter as undergraduates include Nathaniel Hawthorne (1825), Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1825), Robert E. Peary (1877), Owen Brewster (1909), Harold Hitz Burton (1909), Paul Douglas (1913), Alfred Kinsey (1916), Thomas R. Pickering (1953), and Lawrence B. Lindsey (1976).
Media and publications
Bowdoin's student newspaper, The Bowdoin Orient, is the oldest continuously published college weekly in the United States. The Orient was named the second best tabloid-sized college weekly at a Collegiate Associated Press conference in March 2007. Additionally, the school's literary magazine, The Quill, has been published since 1897. The College's radio station, WBOR, has been in operation since 1951. In 1999, The Bowdoin Cable Network was formed, producing a weekly newscast and several student created shows per semester.
"The Longfellows" are the newer of the two all male groups. Founded in 2004, they trace their roots to the historic class of 1825 at Bowdoin, which graduated Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. In 2011, they won their quarterfinal of the International Collegiate Championship of A Cappella, advancing them to the semifinals, as the only all-male group. The same year, they were in the final round of selection to be on NBC's "The Sing Off." In 2010 and again in 2013, they sang the national anthem at a Boston Celtics game. They have performed all over Maine and the Northeast.
"The Meddiebempsters" are the oldest of Bowdoin's six a cappella groups and the third-oldest a cappella group in the nation. Founded in the spring of 1937, the Meddies gained notice when they performed in USO shows after World War II. In 1948, the Meddiebempsters performed for the First Family and were then invited to take a USO tour of Europe for the first time. The tour's enormous success resulted in a full performance calendar for the 1948-1949 academic year. The Department of Defense invited them back every summer from 1948 to 1955 and the group appeared on the Tex and Jinx Show.
"Miscellania" is the oldest all-female a cappella group on campus. Miscellania was founded in 1972 as the female counterpart to the Meddiebempsters, shortly after women were admitted to Bowdoin. Since then, Miscellania has grown to be a part of the tradition of a cappella at Bowdoin College. Distinguishable by their black dresses, Miscellania has performed all over Maine and the Northeast, as well as down the East Coast on longer tours.
The largest student group on campus is the Outing Club, which leads canoeing, kayaking, rafting, camping and backpacking trips throughout Maine. One of the school's two historic rival literary societies, The Peucinian Society, has recently been revitalized from its previous form. The Peucinian Society was founded in 1805, making it one of the oldest literary and intellectual societies in the country. This organization counts such people as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Joshua Chamberlain amongst its former members, though these individuals originally belonged to the Athenian Society (the second society of the two historic groups). These literary and intellectual societies were the dominant groups on campus before they declined in popularity after the rise of Greek fraternities.
Commitment to action on climate change
Bowdoin College signed onto the American College and University President's Climate Commitment in 2007. The College followed through with a carbon neutrality plan released in 2009, with 2020 as the target year for carbon neutrality. According to the plan, general improvements to Maine's electricity grid will account for 7% of carbon reductions, commuting improvements will account for 1%, and the purchase of renewable energy credits will account for 41%. The College intends to reduce its own carbon emissions 28% by 2020, leaving the remaining 23% for new technologies and more renewable energy credits.
Coordinator of Sustainable Bowdoin Keisha Payson has acknowledged that achieving carbon neutrality by 2020 "might not be realistic."
Bowdoin purchases its electricity from Central Maine Power. The College buys renewable energy credits to offset all of the related carbon emissions. According to the EPA's Green Power Partnership, 5.8% of Bowdoin's total electricity usage comes from green power.
Bowdoin's facilities are heated by an on-campus heating plant which burns natural gas.
In February 2013, the College announced that 1.4% of its endowment is invested in the fossil fuel industry. The disclosure was in response to students' calls to divest these holdings.
Museums on Bowdoin's campus include the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, and the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum. Notable Buildings include Massachusetts Hall, Hubbard Hall, the Parker Cleaveland House and the Harriet Beecher Stowe House.
Bowdoin competes in the NCAA Division III New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), which also includes Amherst, Conn College, Hamilton, Middlebury, Trinity, Tufts, Wesleyan, Williams, and Maine rivals Bates and Colby in the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin Consortium (CBB). The College's mascot is the Polar Bear, the school's official colors white and black.
Women's basketball, field hockey, and ice hockey have been Bowdoin's most successful teams. The women's basketball team are 8-time NESCAC champions, holding a record 7-year streak. The field hockey team are four-time NCAA National Champions; winning the title in 2007 (defeating Middlebury College), 2008 (defeating Tufts University), 2010 (defeating Messiah College) and 2013 (defeating Salisbury College). Head coach Nicky Pearson has been NESCAC coach of the year a record 7 times; no other coach in any NESCAC sport has won the award more than twice. In 2007, 2008 and 2010, Pearson was also honored as the NCAA's Division III coach of the year.
2011 also saw Bowdoin's 4th NCAA National Championship, with a win in the Men's Tennis doubles. Bowdoin's 5th NCAA National Championship came less than a year later, with the men's indoor track Distance Medley Relay Team taking the top spot at the Division 3 Indoor Track and Field National Championships. Field Hockey holds the other 3 NCAA titles.
Bowdoin's athletic facilities combine modern buildings with old traditions, and have been historically used as training grounds for Olympic athletes.
In addition to several outdoor athletic fields (Pickard fields & Whittier Field), the College's athletic facilities include:
- Sidney J. Watson Arena, a modern Division III ice hockey arena with a 2,300 spectator capacity and LEED certification.
- Buck Center for Health and Fitness, a $15.2 million LEED-certified facility with a 40-foot climbing wall and spaces for meditation, yoga, and tai chi classes.
- Hubbard Grandstand and Whittier Field, a 9,000 spectator football field and additional six-lane all weather track renovated in 2005 by Nike corporation.
- Leroy Greason Pool, which can accommodate up to 16 lanes of lap swimming.
- Lubin Family Squash Center, which features seven squash courts with moveable sidewalls.
- boathouses for sailing and rowing, several basketball courts, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, and several new athletic fields including a new astroturf field.
According to its Environmental Mission Statement, Bowdoin College "shall seek to encourage conservation, recycling, and other sustainable practices in its daily decision making processes, and shall take into account, in the operations of the College, all appropriate economic, environmental, and social concerns." 
Between 2002 and 2008, Bowdoin College decreased its CO2 emissions by 40%. It achieved that reduction by switching from #6 to #2 oil in its heating plant, reducing the campus set heating point from 72 to 68 degrees, and by adhering to its own Green Design Standards in renovations. In addition, Bowdoin runs a single stream recycling program, and its dining services department has begun composting food waste and unbleached paper napkins. Bowdoin received an overall grade of "B" for its sustainability efforts on the College Sustainability Report Card 2009 published by the Sustainable Endowments Institute. In addition to various student run organizations, including Sustainable Bowdoin and the Bowdoin Organic Garden, the college's dining service regularly uses local products and annually invites local farmers to campus to discuss how local food products are incorporated into the daily menu for students.
In 2003, Bowdoin made a commitment to achieve LEED-certification for all new campus buildings. The college has since completed construction on Osher and West residency halls, the Peter Buck Center for Health & Fitness, and the Sidney J. Watson Arena, all of which have attained LEED or Silver LEED certification. The new dorms partially use collected rain water as part of an advanced flushing system, while the new ice arena uses one of the most efficient dehumidification and refrigeration systems out of any Division III collegiate arena.
In 2009, the college announced a detailed plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2020 as a result of campus-wide conservation efforts and specific initiatives in its implementation plan. The plan includes the construction of a solar thermal system, part of the "Thorne Solar Hot Water Project"; cogeneration in the central heating plant (for which Bowdoin received $400,000 in federal grants); lighting upgrades to all campus buildings; and modern monitoring systems of energy usage on campus.
Notable Bowdoin graduates include former President Franklin Pierce (1824), poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1825), novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne (1825), Mayo Clinic co-founder DAugustus Stinchfield (1868), co-founder of Subway Peter Buck (1952), CEO of American Express Kenneth Chenault (1973), and founder and CEO of Netflix Reed Hastings (1983).
In popular culture
- "Morituri Salutamus" (1875) — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote this poem for his 50th Bowdoin reunion, and recited it on that occasion. One famous passage recalls the College: "O ye familiar scenes,—ye groves of pine / That once were mine and are no longer mine, — / Thou river, widening through the meadows green / To the vast sea, so near and yet unseen, — / Ye halls, in whose seclusion and repose / Phantoms of fame, like exhalations, rose / And vanished,—we who are about to die / Salute you; earth and air and sea and sky / And the Imperial Sun that scatters down / His sovereign splendors upon grove and town." 
- The Sopranos (1999) — In an episode entitled "College," Tony Soprano and his daughter Meadow visit Colby, where Tony kills a former associate, and Bowdoin, where he reads an inscription paraphrasing Hawthorne's warning that "no man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true."  Tony's daughter is ultimately rejected from Bowdoin and ends up attending Columbia. The episode was not filmed on Bowdoin's campus, but was filmed at Drew University in New Jersey.
Presidents of Bowdoin
- Joseph McKeen (1802–07)
- Jesse Appleton (1809–19)
- William Allen (1820–39)
- Leonard Woods (1839–66)
- Samuel Harris (1867–71)
- Joshua Chamberlain (1871–83)
- William DeWitt Hyde (1885–1917)
- Kenneth C.M. Sills (1918–52)
- James S. Coles (1952–67)
- Roger Howell, Jr. (1969–78)
- Willard F. Enteman (1978–80)
- A. LeRoy Greason (1981–90)
- Robert Hazard Edwards (1990–2000)
- Barry Mills (2001–2015)
- Clayton Rose (2015-present)
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